Transforming Care for Low-Income Patients

Over the past three years, the Foundation has invested in a series of studies examining the health preferences and experiences of low-income Californians. The research is based upon random statewide surveys of more than 1,000 low-income residents, providing a unique inside-look at what real Californians think about their healthcare. The findings aim to elucidate the needs of this population, and inform the community health centers that make up the frontlines of our safety net system.

Our most recent issue brief takes three years of research and boils it down to ten clear approaches for health centers to improve patient engagement and satisfaction, achieve better patient-provider relationships, and ultimately ensure they remain strong, effective organizations in 2014 and beyond. Check out the resources below to learn more about this important body of work.

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Building Better Healthcare (PPT)

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Improving the Safety-Net Patient Experience: 10 Things Health Centers Can Do (PDF)
This issue brief, prepared by Langer Research Associates, presents ten things that safety net community health centers can do to improve the patient experience, drawing on data and conclusions from a series of Foundation-funded surveys on the healthcare experiences of low-income Californians.
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Strengthening Engagement with Low-Income Latino Patients (PDF)
Latinos account for more than half of California's uninsured population and are the majority ethnic group among all low-income residents. Survey findings show that, as a whole, they are less satisfied than other safety-net patients with their healthcare, have weaker relationships with their providers, and are less trusting of medical professionals. However, research also shows that these shortfalls are not the result of being Latino; but rather a function of education and language challenges. If health centers can adjust to and address these two elements, there is great potential to improve care and patient engagement for Latinos across the state.
Publication thumbnailEngaging California Patients in Major Medical Decisions (PDF)
One of the best opportunities to enhance patients' involvement at a critical stage of their healthcare experience is when they are facing major medical decisions. But California healthcare providers often skip recommended steps to inform and engage low-income patients at that key point. This study suggests that the shortfall can be addressed with substantial benefits of doing so.
Publication thumbnailHealth Care in California: Leveling the Playing Field (PDF)
The new survey that finds clear communication and strong patient-provider connection can level the healthcare playing field in California. Though disparities between low- and higher-income patients remain, this report provides new evidence that current inequities are not intractable. The report advocates creative, practical approaches such as team-based care and increased use of communications technology to reduce the divide.
Publication thumbnailBuilding Better Health Care for Low-Income Californians (PDF)
As underserved patients gain new choices and greater access to care under health reform, providers will face significant challenges as they seek to retain patients and offer services that are patient-centered, efficient, and highly effective. Building upon previous surveys, this report dives deeper to examine how low-income patients communication with their providers, where they’re accessing health information, and how they feel about new technologies, approaches, and models of care. Read the Executive Summary (PDF) or the Press Release

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